Ton-up Hafeez puts Pakistan in control

5540c59751a67KHULNA: Opener Mohammad Hafeez hit an unbeaten century as Pakistan reached 227 for one in reply to Bangladesh’s 332 at stumps on the second day of the first Test in Khulna on Wednesday.

The tourists finally enjoyed a successful day on an otherwise miserable tour, where they were whitewashed 3-0 in the one-day series and lost to Bangladesh for the first time in a Twenty20 international.

Hafeez made 137 not out, his eighth Test hundred and the third in his last four innings, after Pakistan had ended Bangladesh’s hopes of posting a mammoth first innings total.

Hafeez has so far hit 12 fours and two sixes after surviving a narrow escape in the fourth over of the innings when TV umpire Paul Reiffel overturned a decision for a catch at the wicket off Taijul Islam.

Hafeez put on 50 for the first-wicket with debutant Sami Aslam and 177 in an unbroken partnership with Azhar Ali, as the batsmen prospered at the Sheikh Abu Naser stadium.

Left-handed Aslam, who captained Pakistan’s under-19 team before making the grade at senior level, was caught down the leg-side by wicket-keeper Mushfiqur Rahim off Taijul.

Azhar survived two dropped catches by Rahim to remain unbeaten at stumps on 65, reaching his half-century with a six off Shakib Al Hasan.

Pakistan’s spin bowling coach Mushtaq Ahmed praised Hafeez, saying it was not easy to score runs on the slow pitch.

“Hafeez really batted well and showed his class,” Mushtaq said.

“It was awesome the way he played on what is a slow wicket where it’s not easy to go for shots.

“We will obviously aim for a big total to put Bangladesh under pressure.”

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The hosts suffered a blow when Rahim was forced to leave the field after tea with a bruised finger, leaving Imrul Kayes to don the gloves as Tamim Iqbal took over the captaincy.

Bangladesh, who resumed on the overnight score of 236 for four, were dismissed for 332 soon after lunch.

Left-arm seamer Wahab Riaz and leg-spinner Yasir Shah claimed three wickets each, while Hafeez and Zulfiqar Babar took two each.

Yasir grabbed two of the four wickets that fell in the morning session as Bangladesh faltered against steady spin bowling by the Pakistanis.

The hosts lost the early wicket of star all-rounder Shakib, who was smartly caught at leg-slip by Asad Shafiq off Babar for 25.

Rahim (32) and Soumya Sarkar (33) put on 62 for the sixth wicket before Pakistan hit back with three wickets in the space of seven runs.

Sarkar was dismissed by another good catch by Asad in the covers off Hafeez before Yasir had Rahim caught in the covers and bowled Taijul round his legs.

Wahab returned after lunch to remove Mohammad Shahid and last man Rubel Hossain quickly, leaving Shuvagata Hom unbeaten on 12.

Bangladesh had prospered on the opening day through Mominul Haque, who top-scored with 80, and useful contributions from opener Kayes (51) and Mohammad Mahmudullah (49).

Sarkar admitted bad batting by the lower order had allowed Pakistan to dominate the day’s play.

“I think we batted badly today as compared to yesterday,” he said.

“Pakistan bowled well but we put ourselves under pressure by not being able to score more runs.”

The second and final Test of the short series will start at the Sher-e-Bangla stadium in Dhaka on May 6.

Ton-up Hafeez puts Pakistan in control

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Ton-up Hafeez puts Pakistan in control

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